“The Easy Trick” on How to Line a Drawer

Sometimes the best thing about making over a piece of furniture is in the details. Like the addition of the sweet little tassel I added to my bedroom dresser.

Little decorative details can also be be added in other ways… like the addition of decorative paper to line the drawers or the sides of drawers painted with a stencil design.

Lining a drawer with pretty paper is not needed for the function of the drawer, but it sure gives your eyes a treat every time you open a drawer seeing a pop of color and a pretty design.

What is the Best Material to Use to Line a Drawer?

When lining a drawer I use gift wrap most of the time, but wallpaper works well as do book pages, maps, and other large pieces of paper. I have even used fabric. All of these materials work well.

gift wrap drawer liner
Green & White Gift Wrap Lined Drawers in My Living Room

Home Goods, TJMaxx and Marshalls are my #1 source for finding pretty rolls of gift wrap at bargain prices. I have 2 stashes of it in my house since I can’t fit everything into one location.

Lining a drawer with paper is not hard, but I know of a super easy way that doesn’t even require the use of a measuring tape to line drawers easily.

How to Line a Drawer with Decorative Paper the Easy Way

If your drawer can be removed and has no runner attached underneath, follow the lining a drawer tutorial below.

Try this trick the next time you want to line a drawer with decorative paper. No measuring tape needed.

1. Turn the drawer upside down on a work surface.


2. Lay the gift wrap or decorative paper over the drawer. Use the straight edge of the gift wrap to line up the paper at the front of the drawer. Cut the paper with a pair of scissors around the drawer to get the paper at a workable size of paper that is a little bigger than the drawer.


3.  Fit the paper into the depression around the bottom of the drawer.

Line a drawer with paper trick

4. Fold over the excess paper on the sides and make a crisp crease with your fingers.

How to line a drawer with wall paper

5. Fold the excess paper around the back edge and make a crisp crease.

How to measure and line a drawer with paper the easy way

6. Remove paper and cut along the side of the drawer creases with a pair of sharp scissors.

7. Since the inside of the drawer has the back and it is hidden on the underside, you need to add the approximate thickness of the drawer back above your crease on the back of the paper (this sounds harder than it is, but once you do it, it is a no-brainer).

When cutting the back, add the thickness of the drawer back and then cut a straight line using your crease as a guide to keep your cut straight. Since the cut is in the back of the drawer, if you cut a bit unevenly you won’t even see it.

Lining a drawer with gift wrap or wall paper tutorial

Variation: Use the side of a straight edge and craft knife to cut your paper along the creases.

Use decorative gift wrap or wall paper to line the drawers of a dresser

Once you fit it and made the creases, turn the drawer over and place the gift wrap inside the drawer fitting the front, back, and one side in place.

One side will have to be fitted.  Use the edge of a ruler to move the gift wrap in place to push the excess up against one side.  Crease this excess, remove the paper and cut along the crease.

How To Line a Drawer When The Drawer Can’t Be Removed

If your drawer can’t be removed or has a runner underneath, follow the steps in this post: How to Make Pretty Drawer Liners for Kitchen Drawers

How to Make Drawer Liners Stay in Place?

To make any drawer liner stay in place and not slip around inside the drawer you have a few different options to use.

  • The easiest is making rolls of tape and placing one under the paper in each corner of the drawer.
  • Use Glue Dots to hold the paper in place.
  • For a more permanent solution, use spray glue to attach the paper inside the drawer.

More Drawer Liner Ideas

I learned these creative drawer lining tricks when I worked in retail display many years ago.

Decoupage Book Pages

I lined my desk drawer with the pages of a book about typefaces I found at the thrift store.

Line a Drawer With Fabric & Clear Sealer

You can also use tighter weaves of fabric to line a drawer. I used decorator fabric and sealed it with clear sealer to line this drawer.

For more decorative detail look closely, I also stenciled the sides of this drawer for an unexpected surprise of color.

Line a Drawer With Gift Wrap and Clear Adhesive Sheets

Want to make your paper drawer liners easy to wipe clean, seal the paper with clear iron-on adhesive or Contact paper.

Do you have any tricks to make something much easier than the traditional way of doing things?

wood console table with green and white striped drawer liners

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  1. Thank you – I thought lining a drawer would be be easy! After a few attempts and not getting anywhere (a lot of patch work!) I came across your site. Thanks for your tips – I managed to line four drawers really well. I used double sided sellotape to secure the gift wrap as the paper was thin (another of your tips) Thanks again

  2. Over the years Diane I have read your posts with interest, I have learnt things I didn’t already know, as we are never to old to learn anything, I do line drawers like you do, but I love your choice of papers, they are so much more interesting than mine and I am grateful for the ideas. Thankyou and I can’t wait to see what your doing in your longe, sound exciting.x

  3. I recently chalk painted a desk and used gift wrap to line the inside (lift-top), the drawers and the drawer sides. I used the polycrylic that you have recommended instead of top-coating with wax as well as to coat the gift wrap portions. It was very easy and is now very durable.

  4. Do you attach the paper to the drawer to keep it in place?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Becky – If the paper has a thicker weight to it, I do not attach it. If it is thinner, I use glue dots or a repositional glue stick, so it can be removed if I ever want to change it.

      If I am using scraps of paper to line a drawer, I use decoupage medium. You can see how I do this in this post: http://bit.ly/2umaORS

  5. Hi, Just came from Ann on Sutton Place. So happy I did. I was wondering where you purchased your living room chairs and stacking end tables. I just moved into my “in-law” and need to conserve space but want a swivel rocker in my living area.
    Thanks very much!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Nancy –

      I bought the chairs 3 years ago. They are called Santa Cruz Swivel Rocking Club Chairs. I am not sure they are still available, but here is the link:

      The stacking tables I bought at a store in Columbia, SC called Southeastern Salvage where they sell all types of new furnishings from serving trays to exterior doors. The table bases didn’t have tops so I found round trays that fit. Here is the post that I wrote about how I put the two together: https://inmyownstyle.com/double-duty-furniture-makeover.html

      In this post there is a link to similar tables sold at Pier 1.

      Thanks for reading my blog, I will have to tell Ann thanksfor sending you my way.

  6. Do you have any idea how I could extend this to covering the entire drawer? Like, the walls of the drawer, inside and out. I imagine the easiest way to do this would be to cut all of the pieces out individually, but I worry that the seams would peel and tear.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Dylan – When doing the outside and insides, I would do each side separately. Do two opposite sides first. Cut 2 these two opposite sides so the paper is larger about 2 inches on all sides and then make tabs into the extra to use to wrap around the corners inside or outside. This will cover the corners. Then cut other two side pieces the same size as the drawer and attach. Everything will be covered and when the glue dries and the paper shrinks a little, the corners will still be covered. I hope this makes sense.

  7. I cut a cardboard which fits inside of every drawer. Then, I wrap my paper around that cardboard, with clear, sticky tape & it stays in the drawer until the next time. I don’t change the paper every time because new paper is going over the old paper. RJL

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Ron – Great idea that you can use over and over again. Thanks for sharing the idea with me. I know other readers will benefit from the idea.

  8. Hi, Do you use glue to keep the paper down?

    Thank you

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Mary – I don’t use any glue, I find that whatever I place in the drawer holds it down.

  9. Joni Spicer says:

    I made the $10 Box valance! It looks fabulous. Found the fabric at Jo-Ann’s. It was $15.00 and got the Styrofoam at Home Depot for $8.00 and had it cut to size for the side panels. I had them cut 2 sets of side panels, one set 2″ wide and the other 3″ so I pick which would look best. I chose the 3″ for a bigger return.
    I CAN’T THANK YOU ENOUGH FOR THIS LUXURIOUS LOOK. My kitchen window is beautiful and I saved a fortune!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Joni – Thanks for taking the time to tell me about the success of your kitchen window valance. I love hearing how my tutorials have inspired and helped readers decorate their homes affordably. :-) If your friends and family are anything like mine, they will soon be asking you to make one for them. XO

      1. Lisa Dudley says:

        Diane, I so enjoy reading your blog! Could you please tell me where to find the post about the $10 Box Valance referenced above? I have searched your website using that term and didn’t see it. Thank you!

          1. Lisa Dudley says:

            Thank you! I think the styrofoam one must be it. But now I have two to choose from!

  10. It’s so beautiful and not expensive. But are you using any glue? What kind?

    I want to do that in my kitchen cabinet. But im renter and I want it to be removable.


    1. Ok I just read the comment over mine. Sorry for asking the same. But I’m still wondering if you know a kind of glue that I can use for my kitchen cabinet. Because I would it to be enough stable for grabbing dishes and moving stuff!


      1. Diane Henkler says:

        Hi Roxane – I would use a glue stick of Restickable Adhesive. 3M/Scotch makes it. You can buy it at Walmart or any office supply store. It is also sold on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1HjWHKu

  11. This may sound silly but do you glue them in or how do they stay? I read it over twice and didn’t see anything about that.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Nicole – Not a silly question at all. There was no need to glue the paper down as it lays flat and once the items are in the drawer it weighs the paper down. If your paper is on a tight gift wrap roll and curls and won’t lay flat, you could make a few scotch tape rolls to keep it in place. This will allow for easy removal when it is time for new paper.

  12. I’m in love with the pattern and color of the paper you used! Do you have a name of the pattern and maker of the paper? At any rate, I can’t wait to try out this tip on my plain drawers!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Jenn – I don’t know the name, but I bought it recently at HomeGoods. Marshalls and TJ Maxx carries the gift wrap, too

    2. I got contact paper with that pattern at Dollar General for like $20. It was a huge roll too!

  13. Andrea @TheWomenTalk says:

    Brilliant idea. Will also try out decorating the front end as well of one of my downstairs drawer.

  14. Have you ever used wallpaper to line drawers? It works really good as it is a bit heavier and can often be found on clearance tables. I do not glue it down.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Kathie – Yes I have used wallpaper in the past. It does work well. I have one roll leftover from a bathroom makeover years ago. I have tried to find lots of ways to use it up. :-) I have also used maps and scrapbook paper. Any decorative paper works.

  15. Julia@Cuckoo4Design says:

    Oh that is such a genius trick. Will have to do that next time! The dresser looks fabulous!

  16. Hi Diane, Thanks for the neat tip for lining drawers – I would never have thought of turning the drawer upside down! But when you crease the paper, rather than using a pair of scissors, keep the paper creased and slip a sharp knife into the crease and use the blade to slide right down the crease for a perfect cut. If the paper is creased really sharply and the knife is sharp, you’ll get a perfect result every time.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Pat – Thanks for the great tip on using a sharp knife to cut along the paper crease. I will try that the next time I line one of my drawers. XO

  17. Mary Ann Howat says:

    Hi, really liked that post about paper inside a drawer. What is the easiest way to cover a cardboard box in contact paper or gift wrap that you have cut to size. Have you ever posted this information? My husband keeps saying why are we using grocery cardboard boxes in our bathroom shelves. I keep telling him that I plan to cover them with removable contact paper but I don’t know where to start.

    Thanks for all of your great posts!

  18. That sounds easy indeed!
    One more question: do you glue the paper to the bottom or just lay it in?

    Thank you for the tip!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Anne – I just lay the paper in the drawer and do not use any glue. The contents of the drawer will hold it in place.

  19. Love everything you do of course, but these easy instructions are terrific! Any hints on removing old contact paper that was used as drawer lining in ALL my kitchcen drawers? They are a mess and a stumbling block on my kitchen makeover! Thanks for all you do!

  20. Elisabeth says:

    Hi Diane,
    Thanks so much for this! I’m just about to do this on a piece I want to sell, so it couldn’t be better timing! I’ve always done it inside the drawer, but this is so obvious! DOH!
    Thank you for sharing,
    Cheers, Liz (Australia).

  21. Beth Garland says:

    Diane, I love how your projects are very precise and detailed! I’m the same way, but sometimes it’s a problem! I want things to be the best they can possibly be…..or not at all! Perfectionism….it keeps me from starting and completing many projects. But with your instructions, I know you have already worked out the best way, so I’m always willing to press on with your ideas!

    Also, I noticed your scissors….they are so cool! Are they antique? I love that they are the same on both sides, so it doesn’t matter how you hold them, your fingers still fit! If you know where I can find a pair, please share. Thanks for all your lovely inspiration.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Beth –
      It makes me so happy to hear that the instructions I write in my posts help you. I try my best to cover every step and make the process clear and telling readers what to watch out for and tips to help to ensure success.

      I bought the scissors online a few years ago. They are not antique. I found them by doing a Google search for Vintage or Antique scissors. You may find them at garden centers. I saw them at my garden center last summer. They were in a green and yellow package.

    2. Google “garden scissors” and you’ll find ’em. :)

  22. Sue Bauman says:

    Simple and brilliant is what I thought and what I saw the other commenters say. They are correct! Thank you for making this task so much easier. I have some wrapping paper that is just screaming to become drawer liners!

  23. Sheryll & Critters. says:

    Oh yes, this information is perfectly brilliant. I so admire how you find the most fabulous papers to match what you have done…. you never fail to highly impress.

  24. That’s so easy its BRILLIANT! I have several ugly drawer insides, and I didn’t want to paint. Thanks!